The School Curriculum at St Dominic Savio follows the 2014 National Curriculum, which forms the backbone to our own School Curriculum. It aims to provide academic rigour, unique opportunities and to motivate and excite our pupils. We focus on a knowledge-based curriculum approach.
"Schools enable young people to acquire the knowledge that, for most of them, cannot be acquired at home or in the community." (Michael Young).
The main principles behind our curriculum are based on the Primary Knowledge Curriculum:
· Knowledge is valued and specified
· Knowledge is well-sequenced
· Knowledge is taught to be remembered
Each lesson starts with a prior learning review, where children are supported to retrieve prior knowledge and make connections. We have an emphasis on explicitly teaching vocabulary, and each lesson starts with introducing, orally rehearsing, and engaging with key vocabulary (e.g., looking at the etymology of new words). Key vocabulary is contextualised throughout the lesson and children are given opportunities to apply new words. Our teachers enact our intended curriculum using research-based pedagogy, such as Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction, to ensure information is presented in small steps, clearly explained and modelled, and children have many opportunities to talk, answer questions, explain their learning and work independently. Throughout lessons, teachers assess pupil responses and provide effective feedback.
We assess against the objectives clearly set out in our curriculum. Every unit has an assessment focus which is the knowledge that we expect children to know and understand. Our teachers and subject leaders use the knowledge organisers and these key assessments to plan for future development.. Children proudly share their work and can articulately share their acquired knowledge. At St Dominic Savio we know that our curriculum work is always ongoing - it is at the very core of our purpose and our children deserve the best curriculum we can create.
In lessons we ask 'what is history?', 'what do historians do?'. We also explain why we need to do certain tasks - scientists have a lot of knowledge so that they can produce their own scientific method and then test it to see if they were right. We support children to see themselves as scientists or historians by dismantling stereotypical ideas e.g. scientists are men wearing lab coats and we are passionate about exposing them to the vast range of scientists from different backgrounds e.g. a palaeontologist or a meteorologist. An example of this would be our science fair which enables our children to explore an area of science they are interested in, plan an exhibition and share it with others.
Our teachers focus on the key knowledge needed in each lesson so that children are not overwhelmed and working memory is not overloaded. We use quizzing to support children in their knowledge recall. Our knowledge organisers support children in doing this. Modelling and checking for understanding helps support the learners and guides the teacher as to the next steps so that no learning time is lost.
Our Core Subjects
We plan our school curriculum based on the Primary Knowledge Curriculum (PKC). This curriculum places 'powerful knowledge' at the heart of learning. This is knowledge that “is powerful because it provides the best understanding of the natural and social worlds that we have and helps us go beyond our individual experiences” (Young, 2013).
The Primary Knowledge Curriculum comprises: science, history, geography and visual arts which are in the National Curriculum.
"The school’s curriculum, including in early years, is top-notch. Children get off to a flying start from their earliest days."
(Ofsted, February 2020)
All aspects of our curriculum are accessible to all children, irrespective of their ethnic background, gender, disability, religious or linguistic background. We strive hard to meet the needs of those pupils with special educational needs, those with disabilities, those who are more able, those with special gifts and talents and the children who are learning English as an additional language. We provide a rich, challenging curriculum, which stretches all of our children. Staff are aware of children who have exceptional talents and gifts and monitor or track their progress carefully to ensure their academic potential or talent is continually developed.
Each year group will send home weekly information on Class Dojo, giving you an insight into what your child will be learning. For further information on what your child is learning, please speak to their class teacher.